Buying eyewear online
Buying contact lenses online
Purchasing contact lenses online comes with risks to your vision and eye health. It is important to remember that every contact lens product is unique and designed for a particular purpose. This includes everything from material, curvature, fit, oxygen permeability, deposit resistance, moisture content and lifespan. Use only the care system and solutions recommended by your optometrist.
You should see your optometrist yearly to monitor the health of your eyes and to receive a personal consult on your contact lens needs. Also, seek immediate care if you experience any discomfort or vision changes. Contact lenses are medical devices that sit directly on your eyes and can cause problems if improperly fit or not correctly monitored.
There are a number of risks associated with online ordering:
- Some sites do not verify the prescription.Without proper verification, you risk wearing an optically incorrect or improperly fitting lens. The specifications for contact lenses are not the same as that needed for eyeglasses.
By working with your optometrist, you can ensure:
- Many online sites sell products that have not been approved by Health Canada.
- Lenses from overseas may be exposed to large temperature changes in uncontrolled warehouses or transportation vessels. This can affect the integrity of the lenses that can lead to potential eye health issues.
- Overseas distribution channels may have grey market (counterfeit) product.
- There are no controls to ensure that Internet sites source lenses directly from the manufacturer.
- Replacement and exchange privileges may not be available with an online vendor.
- The proper contact lens prescription, based on your unique lifestyle requirements, how the lens fits to your eye, your tear chemistry, and your specific vision needs.
- The appropriate selection of a care system and solutions that are compatible with your contact lens material and your eyes.
- Professional monitoring to ensure optimum eye health, good vision and comfortable wear.
- Updates with new lens technology that may better suit your particular vision needs or lifestyle demands.
If you have thought about purchasing your next pair of prescription eyeglasses online, there are a few things you need to know.
Buying glasses online
Ordering eyeglasses online may seem easy, but it is very different than ordering your average consumer item. It is important to know that your optometrist is trained in the proper fitting, measuring, manufacturing and dispensing of eyewear. When ordering online, you are, in essence, taking on the role of a trained optical dispenser. This includes taking critical measurements and making critical decisions with respect to frame, lens and material selection. There is an inherent risk associated with making these determinations without the proper skills and education.
Your prescription given to you by your optometrist is only one piece of information that will determine how well you see with your new eyewear. During the normal process of selecting and getting properly fit for your new eyeglasses, your optometrist is determining a number of things to make sure your new purchase is custom made to give you clear and comfortable vision while making sure you look great. Some of those things include:
- Accurately measuring the distance between your pupils so that your new lenses will be properly located in the new frames relative to your eyes
If all of the above are not chosen specifically for you, it’s not uncommon to have problems with your eyewear that may be immediate or develop after using your new eyeglasses for an extended period of time. Common complaints regarding improperly ordered or fit eyewear can include headaches, fatigue, an eye pulling sensation, nausea, as well as pain or pressure marks on your nose or around your ears.
- Selecting the right size of frame for you
- Selecting the right shape of frame for you
- Determining what curvature of lens to use
- Determining what type of lens material to use
- Determining what coatings to use on your lenses that best suit your needs
- Determining the height to place the optical center of the lens in your frames
- Measuring how high to place the bifocal or progressive (if you wear a multifocal lens)
- Properly adjusting the frame to your face
A September 2011 study by a research professor at Pacific University College of Optometry in Oregon found that 44.8% of eyewear ordered online failed at least one parameter of optical or impact testing. In addition, 28.6% were out of optical tolerance. As a consumer, you have a number of choices when it comes to purchasing eyewear, including online. Working with your optometrist from the initial optometric eye exam to the final fitting will ensure you receive accurate, quality manufactured eyewear that is best suited for your eyes and your lifestyle.
Find an optometrist near you.